The Central Intelligence Agency has launched a manhunt for a traitor within its ranks, after what has been known as one the worst security breaches in the organization’s history, CBS News reported on Wednesday.
A joint investigation of the CIA and the FBI is underway to examine how thousands of top-secret files were published in March by WikiLeaks, the controversial organization that releases classified material, by an alleged CIA employee or contractor who operated a tool normally used by the CIA to infiltrate various electronic devices — from smart phones, smart televisions, and computers.
The breach has been referred as “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks.
The CIA did not state publicly how or when the information was stolen. However, it said that the insider had physical access to obtain the files, and that most of it was stored in a “highly secure section,” CBS reported.
CIA director Mike Pompeo recently slammed WikiLeaks for playing a role in the dissemination of the files.
“It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” he said, referring to the organization’s possible ties to the Kremlin.
Pompeo continued to rail against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, asserting that the Russian military “had used WikiLeaks” to release the Democratic National Committee’s emails that has since fueled allegations of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. He also added that RT, a media network from Russia that has offices in the US, was “Russia’s primary propaganda outlet,” and that it “has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The organization itself has been reluctant to release its source. “The archive appears to have been circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive,” read a statement.